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Worcestershire Sauce: Lea and Perrins


Jay Francis
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I never took much notice of Worcestershire sauce, but over the last few days, I have re-discovered it and really enjoy the flavor. The one marketed here in the US lists corn syrup as its second ingredient.

I was curious to know if anyone has ever come across a recipe that would allow me to make and ferment my own, substituting sugar for the corn syrup.

But that also makes me wonder if Lee and Perrin's in the UK or other countries do not use corn syrup?

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It would be interesting to see how much of a difference there is between the two -- with all the aggressive flavors and heavy seasoning in Worcestershire sauce, I wonder if one could even taste it.

If you can't track down the made-with-sugar version, here's a recipe, which also includes a link to a previous discussion about Worcestershire.

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Looks like I need to track down some British L&P!

Or you could visit your northern neighbours! My bottle has the same ingredients and I bought it in Canada. :biggrin:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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It would be interesting to see how much of a difference there is between the two -- with all the aggressive flavors and heavy seasoning in Worcestershire sauce, I wonder if one could even taste it.

If you can't track down the made-with-sugar version, here's a recipe, which also includes a link to a previous discussion about Worcestershire.

I'm not sure how 'correct' that recipe is, it isn't fermented and it uses corn syrup...

Edited by melkor (log)
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I'm not aware of a "correct" recipe for Worcestershire sauce. It's not clear (at least from their web site) that fermentation is part of how L&P makes their sauce today, nor is it necessarily required for characteristic flavor.

I'm not sure what the objection is to corn syrup, unless it's an allusion to the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup. Since my recipe calls for dark corn syrup, which is a combination of glucose and cane-sugar molasses, the association is misleading on the surface. Moreover, sugar (sucrose) in the presence of heat and acid would almost certainly invert some proportion of it, yielding fructose (and glucose) anyway. What's the big deal?

Dave Scantland
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Eat more chicken skin.

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I'm not sure what the objection is to corn syrup, unless it's an allusion to the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup. Since my recipe calls for dark corn syrup, which is a combination of glucose and cane-sugar molasses, the association is misleading on the surface. Moreover, sugar (sucrose) in the presence of heat and acid would almost certainly invert some proportion of it, yielding fructose (and glucose) anyway. What's the big deal?

I can't answer for the poster, but I can say that my cousin is allergic to corn syrup. She avoids it at all costs, now that she's identified it as the source of a lot of mysterious health problems. Avoiding corn syrup quite a challenge in this country, however.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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Looks like I need to track down some British L&P!

If a trip to Canada isn't in your near future, you might try a Cost Plus World Market. I've never looked for Worcestershire sauce there but they do have other British items (HP, Coleman's, Marmite, etc.,).

And if that doesn't work out, there are a lot of websites catering to British ex-pats that might carry it.

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I'm not sure what the objection is to corn syrup, unless it's an allusion to the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup. Since my recipe calls for dark corn syrup, which is a combination of glucose and cane-sugar molasses, the association is misleading on the surface. Moreover, sugar (sucrose) in the presence of heat and acid would almost certainly invert some proportion of it, yielding fructose (and glucose) anyway. What's the big deal?

I can't answer for the poster, but I can say that my cousin is allergic to corn syrup. She avoids it at all costs, now that she's identified it as the source of a lot of mysterious health problems. Avoiding corn syrup quite a challenge in this country, however.

My sincere sympathies to your cousin; I didn't mean to cast such a wide net. My point was that sugar composition is elusive, to say the least -- even in a home-processed product. I was also pointing out that there is no "official" recipe for Worcestershire sauce. L&P seems to be the consensus standard, but in my experience there are a number of ways to skin this cat. I make the stuff about once a quarter. Next time, I'll try plain old sugar.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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There was a long discussion on the fact that many people were suddenly noticing that the USA L&P Worcestershire was tasting sweeter than it used to and definitely not as good.

I found out that Heinz bought them. I called, and they claimed that they hadn't owned L&P long enough to be accountable for a change in flavor.

But I had 8 large bottles of it that I had bought 3-4 months earlier, and everyone of them didn't taste like the 'ol L&P that I've used for 50+ years now.

I found a recipe on a different forum that I use now for Worcestershire. I'd print it here but it would be copyright infringement.

doc

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I found a recipe on a different forum that I use now for Worcestershire.  I'd print it here but it  would be copyright infringement.

doc

Can you post a link to it?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I'm not aware of a "correct" recipe for Worcestershire sauce. It's not clear (at least from their web site) that fermentation is part of how L&P makes their sauce today, nor is it necessarily required for characteristic flavor.

I'm not sure what the objection is to corn syrup, unless it's an allusion to the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup. Since my recipe calls for dark corn syrup, which is a combination of glucose and cane-sugar molasses, the association is misleading on the surface. Moreover, sugar (sucrose) in the presence of heat and acid would almost certainly invert some proportion of it, yielding fructose (and glucose) anyway. What's the big deal?

This reply seems a bit harsh. The original poster asked:

I was curious to know if anyone has ever come across a recipe that would allow me to make and ferment my own, substituting sugar for the corn syrup.

Your recipe is neither fermented nor made without corn syrup. The wikipedia entry incidentally begins with:

Worcestershire sauce (IPA: /ˈwʊstə(ɹ)ʃ(ɪ)ə®/ ("wuster-shur" or "wuster-sheer")) is a widely used fermented liquid condiment originally manufactured by Lea & Perrins...

That seems to suggest your recipe makes a perhaps similar tasting, different product.

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So, am I understanding this correctly?

Lea and Perrins invented Worchestershire sauce?

Or were they the first to bottle it?

It never occurred to me that it might be a product of fermentation - like soy sauce. Or that anyone would attempt to copy or reverse engineer it at home. Its always just been there, in the cupboard. A staple. What a fascinating project.

Now I'm going to have to put in an order from my source across the pond. Can you imagine the havoc a bottle of that stuff could wreak on a suitcase? But I want to do a side-by-side taste test, both neat and used in cooking.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Your recipe is neither fermented nor made without corn syrup.  The wikipedia entry incidentally begins with:

Worcestershire sauce (IPA: /ˈwʊstə(ɹ)ʃ(ɪ)ə®/ ("wuster-shur" or "wuster-sheer")) is a widely used fermented liquid condiment originally manufactured by Lea & Perrins...

That's an interesting article.

Often you'll hear that Worcestershire derived directly from (Roman) garum-- I see this article doesn't share that view.

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I bought a British L&P today at lunchtime. I can taste a world of difference between it and the American one, the flavor is much more complex. Interesting note, though. According to the British label, there aren't any chili peppers (these are listed in the American version). But the heat from the British Worcestershire sauce sure indicates to me that there are chilis. It just doesn't taste like the same heat one would get from black pepper. Well, it could be white pepper but I'm not sure. I have a gut feeling that there are chilis in the British one, too, just not listed. At any rate, white pepper is not listed either.

The British sauce, I've been glugging out of it all day, is really delicious. I am now addicted.

Edited by Jay Francis (log)
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So, am I understanding this correctly?

Lea and Perrins invented Worchestershire sauce?

Or were they the first to bottle it?

It never occurred to me that it might be a product of fermentation - like soy sauce. Or that anyone would attempt to copy or reverse engineer it at home. Its always just been there, in the cupboard. A staple. What a fascinating project.

Now I'm going to have to put in an order from my source across the pond. Can you imagine the havoc a bottle of that stuff could wreak on a suitcase? But I want to do a side-by-side taste test, both neat and used in cooking.

The Wikipedia entry must have been made by a North American or Australian, I have never heard a British person say "Worcestershire" sauce, only "Worcester" sauce. The British made version lists "malt vinegar" I wonder if this is used in the USA version?

Lea and Perrins made the first "Worcestershire sauce" as they were based in Worcester, but it is one of many similar sauces that were popular at the period. Contact with Asia seems to have stimulated an interest in soy and ketchup (not a tomato sauce at this period) savoury sauces and producing similar sauces became a fashionable thing to do, a bit like how many people now have a special BBQ sauce.

These sauces and Roman/Greek garum are seperated by over a thousand years. They were not the same sort of product at all and unlikely to have tasted similar but in the way that they were used there was some overlap.

"Fermentation" implies bacterial action, I'm not sure that this is part of the process, but who knows.

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If you're interested in trying a US product that's made without HF corn syrup, you might try the new Tabasco brand worcestershire (ingredients: vinegar, molasses, water, cured anchovies, soy sauce, Tabasco pepper sauce, tamarinds, salt, onion, garlic, spices, sugar and natural flavoring). I ran across it today for the first time and picked up a bottle. Unfortunately, I'm out of Lea and Perrins, so I'll have to wait to do a taste comparison, but by itself and at first taste, it seems similar -- just a bit hotter. When I taste them side by side, I'll report back.

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It never occurred to me that it might be a product of fermentation

I can remember about, maybe, 30 years ago, that L&P Worcestershire had right on the label, "Aged 2 years".

I don't rightly recall when I stopped seeing that on the label, but I believe it was somewhere around the 1980's.

doc

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As an aside, when my sister and I were young, we used to call Worcestershire sauce 'rooster sauce' cause it was easier to say :raz: But it's something that's completely fallen out of my kitchen vocabulary...I haven't had it in ages. Maybe I'll pick some up this winter.

Kate

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I'm really glad this topic came up. After not cooking seriously for a good ten years I've taken it up again. It never dawned on me they changed the product. I thought it was me and old age or something.

I would of never thought of making my own.

And looking at my recently purchased bottle it says "Aged in wooden casks for 18 months."

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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I've been lurking for a while now, and finally saw fit to comment.

My boyfriend has severe food allergies, including allergies to corn, nuts, seeds, beans and all associated oils and extracts. Cooking for him has been quite a challenge, but I've managed using substitutions and plain old trickery. Worcestershire sauce was a problem for a long while because every version I could find contained corn syrup, like just about everything else in the supermarket these days. (Not for long, as I'm hoping the ethanol-related corn demand will cause food manufacturers to switch back to good old sugar.) I finally found that the Whole Foods 365 brand of Worcestershire does not contain corn syrup, so we've been using that ever since. Never having tasted any version on its own, I can't say exactly how it compares to the original, but it hasn't made anyone sick yet. (How's that for a product endorsement?)

BTW, I LOVE this place! I read the entire anti-dinner thread while at work the other day and was tittering uncontrollably throughout. :biggrin:

-- Lisa

Edited by abooja (log)
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I've been lurking for a while now, and finally saw fit to comment.

My boyfriend has severe food allergies, including allergies to corn, nuts, seeds, beans and all associated oils and extracts.  Cooking for him has been quite a challenge, but I've managed using substitutions and plain old trickery.  Worcestershire sauce was a problem for a long while because every version I could find contained corn syrup, like just about everything else in the supermarket these days.  (Not for long, as I'm hoping the ethanol-related corn demand will cause food manufacturers to switch back to good old sugar.)  I finally found that the Whole Foods 365 brand of Worcestershire does not contain corn syrup, so we've been using that ever since.  Never having tasted any version on its own, I can't say exactly how it compares to the original, but it hasn't made anyone sick yet.  (How's that for a product endorsement?)

BTW, I LOVE this place!  I read the entire anti-dinner thread while at work the other day and was tittering uncontrollably throughout.  :biggrin:

-- Lisa

Great comment, abooja. Thanks for coming out of lurk mode, and welcome to eGullet!

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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